I think that the above picture speaks more volumes than I ever could.
Several weeks ago, I embarked on a project entitled The Potential Papers (learn more about this project at https://thelibertiesofgospel.com/the-potential-papers/). My driving motivation was to find out why teenagers aren’t living up to their full potential. I crafted and conducted a survey to gather some data on what young people knew about their potential. Here are some of the key conclusions I’ve been able to make:
Note: With over 450 responses, males, females, and other genders aged 12-19 from all over the world and identifying with numerous religious beliefs are represented.
- Many teenagers provided different and unique ways for how God interacts with them personally.
- Most teenagers do not typically have a very productive day, with 66.1% of them spending more than 3 hours on unproductive screen time a day.
- Teenagers believe that they have potential!! This was the most outstanding statistic to me.
- People also have a general idea of what their gifts/skills/talents are, they just don’t know how to use them to bless people.
- Teenagers are going through some very hard things which define their royalty even more.
I would like to first present a basic model for how to realize your potential and utilize it in incredible ways. There are three steps:
- Identify the meaningful gifts/skills/talents that you possess. It can be literally anything that you’re passionate about and have had some success in!
- What population or group of people could benefit from receiving what you have to give?
- How could you use what you’re good at to bless that group of people?
I promise that this model works. It takes some reflection, but God will help you through it. It is also helpful to create a simplified, 3-5 word mission statement. This declaration of power identifies people in need and an action that you do to fill that need. Find or create one that really resonates with you. Here are some examples (you may use one of these or come up with your own. You can also have more than one- that is totally okay and common!):
- Inspire the uninspired
- Feed the hungry
- Heal the sick
- Spread beauty
- Comfort the saddened
- Educate the ignorant
- Befriend the lonely
- Liberate the captive
- Strengthen and heal families
- Empower the youth
- Maintain peace
- Care for the elderly
- Build cool things
- Create incredible music
- Bind up the brokenhearted
It brought me great joy to see how many teenagers believed that they had potential beyond measure! As Elder Holland puts it, a “future of unspeakable grandeur” and the realization thereof is certainly not lost among the upcoming generation. I was also moved to tears several times to read what incredible hardships the youth anonymously shared with me. They are going through so much more than we know, and are so much stronger than they know.
What I’ve provided in this article is a very powerful and simple way to realize your genius. To recap, the questions to ask yourself are:
- What am I good at and what do I like to do?
- Who is in need of my talents and passions?
- How do I use my talents and passions to bless those people in need?
You may not be able to answer all three right away. In fact, you may be stuck pondering one or two of them for awhile. The third one can be especially difficult. If you get stuck, may I just offer this advice: keep struggling. Let me share with you my experience with that step.
I had identified that I liked to write, I was somewhat good at it, and that some people would actually read what I have to say and think it’s not terrible. That’s literally how simple it was. Steps 1 and 2 don’t need to be complex at all. For me, I literally said, “Writing: not terrible. People: might read.”
Then I knelt in prayer. I presented my “masterful” conclusions to God and said, “Okay, now what? I want to do this, can you show me how?” All I got was a nod. I was kind of hoping for a blueprint.
Nevertheless, I sat down at my desk and spent the next three hours trying to figure out how to build a website. It was mentally straining, but also very exciting. One thing led to another and I kept coming up with new ideas. I struggled through the construction of my website but finally created a medium where I could put my writing out there, advertise it a little bit, and leave the rest up to God.
I promise that if you put in the effort, the people will come. The people will come.
God makes somebodies out of nobodies. I was a nobody- nobody was reading what I had to say. Now, people are. God makes Kings and Queens out of pawns. Even if you don’t see it, He’s shining His light on you and you’re casting a shadow of greatness.
So King or Queen, whoever’s reading this, will you promise me that you’ll follow the above steps and give your royalty to the world? Can you imagine what the world would look like if everybody realized their gift and used it to bless the people around them? I’m fighting to one day see that world. Who’s with me?